The article “Building blocks of servitude” (June 19) has provided an insight into the pathetic conditions of brick kiln workers in Hyderabad. Their tragedy is compounded by the fact that they are migrant workers trying to escape the agrarian crisis in Odisha.
Such work conditions are prevalent in and around Bangalore too. Although we often hear that migrant bonded labour have been rescued from brick kilns with the help of NGOs and labour officers, nobody knows what happens to the workers later. Unless there is some mechanism to put their children in school and offer gainful employment to them, there is no way of preventing the vulnerable workers going back to the same sardars/owners of brick kilns for work.
Pathetic conditions of work are not confined to labour in the real estate sector. They extend to almost every sector today. Although child labour is banned, there are many “contract brokers” who bring children from north India to work in southern metropolises. Internal migration in our country is on the rise, especially in the post-LPG reform period. Unless addressed seriously, intra-nation migration will assume a grave proportion and become a core issue in the elections.
Keywords: brick kiln workers